CHECKLISTS

Timothy and Titus – Inconspicuous Leadership

1 Timothy 5 checklistI am a list maker…even in retirement from my secular work. For me, what doesn’t get listed, doesn’t get done. It is also very rewarding for me to check that item off the list when it is accomplished. The list has a progression of priorities. One task cannot happen until another task is completed. And so life goes with my lists guiding my behavior and productivity.

As I journal each morning in my conversational prayer with God, the Father, His Spirit guides me to make another list that helps me to mature and grow in Him. I am convicted of some of those “fruits of the Spirit” that I have not tended to or cultivated, have ignored or left undone. His Holy Spirit redirects my thoughts and helps me form a list of tasks that will help me improve my behavior. “Keep a close check on yourself”, writes Paul to Timothy. For me, that means to make a spiritual checklist that keeps me in close contact with the will and purpose of our Father, God and helps me to grow closer to Him.

We can do nothing of significance without God. I am convinced that He guides us to all things that are good for our growth and aid our learning about Him and how He works. Paul also gives Timothy sound advice about how to treat those whom God has called to lead with character traits with another list of how to lead. This list still applies to us today. The theme of this episode seems to be; Know God, Know Yourself, Know The Message, Know Your Audience. Our deeds, good and bad, will be evident. Be driven by God’s love in us.

1 Timothy 5, The Message

17-18 Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job, especially the ones who work hard at preaching and teaching. Scripture tells us, “Don’t muzzle a working ox” and “A worker deserves his pay.”

19 Don’t listen to a complaint against a leader that isn’t backed up by two or three responsible witnesses.

20 If anyone falls into sin, call that person on the carpet. Those who are inclined that way will know right off they can’t get by with it.

21-23 God and Jesus and angels all back me up in these instructions. Carry them out without favoritism, without taking sides. Don’t appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily. If a person is involved in some serious sins, you don’t want to become an unwitting accomplice. In any event, keep a close check on yourself. And don’t worry too much about what the critics will say. Go ahead and drink a little wine, for instance; it’s good for your digestion, good medicine for what ails you.

24-25 The sins of some people are blatant and march them right into court. The sins of others don’t show up until much later. The same with good deeds. Some you see right off, but none are hidden forever.

1 Timothy 5 check yourselfLEADERSHIP PRINCIPLE #6: Keep a Close Check on Yourself

Leadership Characteristics –

–Fully rely on God. Trust Him with all you are and all you have. We are His. All we have is His.
–Ask God “if there is anything offensive to you, cleanse me.” as the Psalmist prayed.
–Repent with a heart and mind not wanting to return to the old life.
–Look full into the face of Jesus, our Master, Lord and Savior with laser focus so we know what direction to take next.
–“Keep a close check on yourself.” Avoid, “he did it, I can, too” or “my sin is not as bad as his sin” or “everybody’s doing it” mentality.
–Ask God for wisdom, insight and understanding.
–Allow God’s transformation to continue in our lives.
–Ask God to make your lists of to BE and to DO. HE will prioritize your lists in ways you cannot imagine! Where He guides, He provides help all along the journey.
–Do all in a Spirit of love for God and others.
–Care enough to confront others with God’s love and concern for their spiritual well-being and growth.

Warning   The things on our spiritual check list can never be crossed off because we’ll be working on them our whole lives. By listing we are reminding ourselves of what we need to work on to “keep a close check” on our lives. It is only by The Atonement of Jesus Christ can we accomplish anything of eternal significance.

Dear Heavenly Father,
You have convinced me that we must do spiritual “business” with You each day to improve our being in You. Thank you for helping us on this journey. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit that points out things in our behavior that could cause us to crash…before crashing. Thank you for always being with us, guiding and directing, loving and protecting and challenging us to grow and bear Fruit. Continue to transform me. Transform your church. Transform the world through your church.
In Jesus Name, Amen

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SING HALLELUJAHS AND SALVATION SONGS!

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Psalm 9 tell.jpgSometimes I sing my prayers to God while doing chores around the house. As I go to sleep knowing God is with me, He is my song in the night. When I wake up, another salvation song fills my mind. So, I understand David’s hallelujahs of honest praise and prayer to God. Music soothes the soul and reminds us how much we are loved.
 
David’s words can be found in the songs we sing today. Hallelujahs and salvation songs are ways to “tell everyone we meet” about the God who made a way for us to love and commune with Him by sending His Son to redeem us. Enjoy the next song that comes from a grateful, loving heart for God.
 
Psalm 9, The Message
 
A David Psalm
Psalm 9 God1-2 I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart,
I’m writing the book on your wonders.
I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy;
I’m singing your song, High God.
 
3-4 The day my enemies turned tail and ran,
they stumbled on you and fell on their faces.
You took over and set everything right;
when I needed you, you were there, taking charge.
 
5-6 You blow the whistle on godless nations;
you throw dirty players out of the game,
wipe their names right off the roster.
Enemies disappear from the sidelines,
their reputation trashed,
their names erased from the halls of fame.
 
7-8 God holds the high center,
he sees and sets the world’s mess right.
He decides what is right for us earthlings,
gives people their just deserts.
 
9-10 God’s a safe-house for the battered,
a sanctuary during bad times.
The moment you arrive, you relax;
you’re never sorry you knocked.
 
11-12 Sing your songs to Zion-dwelling God,
tell his stories to everyone you meet:
How he tracks down killers
yet keeps his eye on us,
registers every whimper and moan.
 
13-14 Be kind to me, God;
I’ve been kicked around long enough.
Once you’ve pulled me back
from the gates of death,
I’ll write the book on Hallelujahs;
on the corner of Main and First
I’ll hold a street meeting;
I’ll be the song leader; we’ll fill the air
with salvation songs.
 
15-16 They’re trapped, those godless countries,
in the very snares they set,
Their feet all tangled
in the net they spread.
They have no excuse;
the way God works is well-known.
The cunning machinery made by the wicked
has maimed their own hands.
 
17-20 The wicked bought a one-way
ticket to hell.
No longer will the poor be nameless—
no more humiliation for the humble.
Up, God! Aren’t you fed up with their empty strutting?
Expose these grand pretensions!
Shake them up, God!
Show them how silly they look.
 
Psalm 9 allSOMETHING TO CHEW…
Yes, how great is our God?! David sings his hallelujahs to God for victory over Israel’s enemies. His aim was to honor the Lord, not to glorify himself. His joy was in the Lord, not just in the great victory that he had been given (Phil. 4:4), and he wanted to tell everybody about God’s wonderful works.
 
HEART CHECK…
When life victories come to us, who do we praise first? How do we praise him?
Do we sing hallelujahs to God and salvation songs about God to others?
How do we tell others? Do they have to guess and wonder by observing the way we live our lives?
 
“I’ll be the song leader; we’ll fill the air with salvation songs.” Hallelujah to the God who saves!
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for this prayer of honesty and devotion to you, the Victor and Savior of our very own lives. We praise You for all you have done, are doing and will do in our lives each day. I love you, Lord with all that is in me.
In Jesus Name, Amen
 
Psalm 9 halllelujahAnd I’m singing…
 
Who am I that the highest King
Would welcome me?
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh His love for me
Oh His love for me
 
Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
 
Free at last, He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me
Yes He died for me
 
Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father’s house
 
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
 
I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am….
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JUST THANK YOU

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
There are days while journalizing my prayers that I don’t ask for anything. I pause to praise. I don’t ask God to heal the sick but I thank Him for their lives and their influence in my life. I don’t ask God to bless my children and grandchildren as I normally do, but I thank God for each one by name. I don’t ask for provisions or resolution to problems, I just thank God for all He is, what He has done, is doing and will do in my life. I thank God for what I see Him doing in the lives of those around me. I thank Him for life. I thank God for less worry that comes knowing He is with me. I thank God for saving my soul for eternity.
 
Psalm 8 thank youI look around my back yard and I thank God for the way He delicately and intricately made everything–absolutely everything. I praise God for His power and might and His right to judge coupled with tender mercy and grace, like no one on earth can do. I thank God, again, for saving my soul. I thank Him for a forever future with Him.
 
David pauses to praise and just say thank you to the God of Creation in his prayer for today.
 
Psalm 8, The Message
A David Psalm
 
God, brilliant Lord,
yours is a household name.
 
2 Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
toddlers shout the songs
That drown out enemy talk,
and silence atheist babble.
 
3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?
 
Psalm 8 glory of God5-8 Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,
bright with Eden’s dawn light.
You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming,
whales singing in the ocean deeps.
 
9 God, brilliant Lord,
your name echoes around the world.
 
 
SOMETHING TO CHEW ON…
 
When we pause to praise God and just say thank you, joy and a peace that passes all understanding overwhelms our being like a great waterfall cascading down upon us as we stand under God, in awe of God. We are washed clean by the blood of the lamb. Sweet peace. Joy, unspeakable and full of glory for God comes by acknowledging our gratefulness for His redemption.
 
HEART CHECK…
 
Yes, God is God and we are not. Let us stop and just say thank you. In a lifetime we will never be able to thank God enough but He loves it when we try. Begin to list all the attributes of God, all that He has done, is doing right now and probably will do in your future. This exercise of praise teaches us to live a life of gratitude before God, a life pleasing to God.
 
Psalm 8 my heart to You
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you, just thank you. Thank you for creation to enjoy. Thank you for trusting us to manage creation and all you provide for us with your help. Thank you for guiding our every thought and action. Thank you for allowing us to see glimpses of you in others, in your creation, and in our praises to You as a people who love You back. Thank you for saving us and delivering us from evil.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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GOD IS ALREADY IN ACTION

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
If we are truly honest before God we will tell him about the mess we are in and how we think we got there. We first blame others because that seems to come easily and is natural for a human. We are honest with our feelings before God. We pour out our grievances of the evil actions of others upon our lives. We tattle on the enemy and the way evil works in the lives of the people around us making life miserable and challenging for us. We don’t always just pray “may Your will be done”, we honestly tell God what we think His will should be. He will listen. But God will act in ways that are best for our growth, our deliverance, our salvation. God makes things right…with HIS perspective.
 
God is always at work. We must wrap our heads around that thought and truth. We pray when we see the need. He is already working on what we need most before we ask. So why should we ask? Because we need to sort it out, see the circumstance the way God sees it and rely on God in full faith that He will help us. I am reminded of the old gospel song, “Just a Little Talk with Jesus makes it right.”
 
psalm-7-prayers-of-the-heart.jpgIn praying, we get to know God more. It’s like our conversations with our best friend on earth. We know we can be honest with a friend who listens without responding to us immediately with an answer. God truly listens and waits for us to “talk it out” with Him until WE see His right way to go. We see that David does that readily. David is a “man after God’s heart” as he is described by God in scriptures, so David is comfortable with being honest before God.
 
Psalm 7, The Message
A David Psalm
1-2 God! God! I am running to you for dear life;
the chase is wild.
If they catch me, I’m finished:
ripped to shreds by foes fierce as lions,
dragged into the forest and left
unlooked for, unremembered.
 
3-5 God, if I’ve done what they say—
betrayed my friends,
ripped off my enemies—
If my hands are really that dirty,
let them get me, walk all over me,
leave me flat on my face in the dirt.
 
6-8 Stand up, God; pit your holy fury
against my furious enemies.
Wake up, God. My accusers have packed
the courtroom; it’s judgment time.
Take your place on the bench, reach for your gavel,
throw out the false charges against me.
I’m ready, confident in your verdict:
“Innocent.”
 
9-11 Close the book on Evil, God,
but publish your mandate for us.
You get us ready for life:
you probe for our soft spots,
you knock off our rough edges.
And I’m feeling so fit, so safe:
made right, kept right.
God in solemn honor does things right,
but his nerves are sandpapered raw.
 
11-13 Nobody gets by with anything.
God is already in action—
Sword honed on his whetstone,
bow strung, arrow on the string,
Lethal weapons in hand,
each arrow a flaming missile.
 
14 Look at that guy!
He had sex with sin,
he’s pregnant with evil.
Oh, look! He’s having
the baby—a Lie-Baby!
 
15-16 See that man shoveling day after day,
digging, then concealing, his man-trap
down that lonely stretch of road?
Go back and look again—you’ll see him in it headfirst,
legs waving in the breeze.
That’s what happens:
mischief backfires;
violence boomerangs.
 
17 I’m thanking God, who makes things right.
I’m singing the fame of heaven-high God.
 
SOMETHING TO CHEW…
At first reading, we might accuse David of being “bipolar” in his prayers. But then we think of ourselves. We are the same. We cry out wondering where God is in times of trouble then praise him in a few hours or days when our problem is solved in ways we would never think or imagine.
 
Praying to the God who knows everything does not have to be elegantly said with flowery Bible words. God is looking for a sincere, honest heart. When when call to Him, our heart is the first thing He looks into as He listens. He must smile when we pour out what is troubling us because He knows He is already solving it for us or making a way through it. His work in us is to get us to see life His way.
 
Psalm 7 GodHEART PROBE…
David cried out for justice. We cry out for justice.
Why? Do we really want God to step in and judge the situation and find we might be at fault, too? If we are perfectly honest, we need some work, too.
“You get us ready for life: you probe for our soft spots; you knock off our rough edges.”
 
Do we think because we go to church, volunteer with God’s church and work in the community that we can get by with sloppy living away from the church scene? “Nobody gets by with anything. God is already in action–” He is working on us as He leads us through troubled waters.
 
David closes his prayer with praise for God. He knows God well. He trusts that God has heard him. He thanks God “who makes things right.”
How grateful are we to the God who makes things right? In what ways have you seen God at work lately?
Did you praise and thank Him?
How honest are we?
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
Many thoughts come to mind this morning as we read the prayer of a troubled heart surrounded by the enemy. We see, with humble hearts, that you are God and we are so not. We are talking to You, who never sleeps, to make things right. We know You more and more each day. And we are grateful for the relationship that is growing between us. We repent of running ahead of you in this life. Instead, I run to you, Yahweh, for dear life.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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TRIALS TO TRIUMPH

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Saying yes to God to be a leader in ministry does not mean we will always live in perfect harmony with others in and out of God’s church, singing Kum Ba Yah and holding hands. We are human. We are fallible. We might not get tired OF the work but we certainly get tired IN the work God invited us to do, especially when the battle to do His will seems beyond our ability to get His will accomplished… in His way.
 
Psalm 6 impressionAs a pastor in God’s church, we can feel overwhelmed when the demands of His people do not match the commands that God is telling us to be and do. We fall down when we are overwhelmed and make bad choices just to make people happy. Making others happy, avoiding God’s direction, so you will be lifted up in the eyes of those you minister alongside, face to face, is sin and will bite back. God will take us to the “woodshed” when we take the easy road and say what others want to hear instead of saying what God wants. We will suffer now and later for playing the “must please others” game. Even the fickle ones we are trying to please will eventually turn on us! Crazy, right? But true.
 
Psalm 6, The Message
 
Psalm 6 save meA David Psalm
1-2 Please, God, no more yelling,
no more trips to the woodshed.
Treat me nice for a change;
I’m so starved for affection.
 
2-3 Can’t you see I’m black-and-blue,
beat up badly in bones and soul?
God, how long will it take
for you to let up?
 
4-5 Break in, God, and break up this fight;
if you love me at all, get me out of here.
I’m no good to you dead, am I?
I can’t sing in your choir if I’m buried in some tomb!
 
6-7 I’m tired of all this—so tired. My bed
has been floating forty days and nights
On the flood of my tears.
My mattress is soaked, soggy with tears.
The sockets of my eyes are black holes;
nearly blind, I squint and grope.
 
8-9 Get out of here, you Devil’s crew:
at last God has heard my sobs.
My requests have all been granted,
my prayers are answered.
 
10 Cowards, my enemies disappear.
Disgraced, they turn tail and run.
 
 
Psalm 6 God hearsSOMETHING TO CHEW…
The Psalmist is suffering for being God’s leader. He feels God is punishing Him for how he leads and fights this battle between good and evil. He’s tired and weary, maybe even ill from the battling God. “Yahweh, how long will it take for you to let up?”, The Psalmist cries out in honesty and agony.
 
All of these psalms are helpful to us when we need to confess our sins and draw closer to the Lord. In this psalm, David records the stages in his difficult experience of moving by faith from trial to triumph.
 
God cannot be where sin is for God is perfect and sinless. So if we feel God has moved away from us, even avoiding us, it is probably because we have walked farther from His Light and ventured into the Darkness where God is not and will not follow. Cry out to God. Come back into the Light. Do life His way. The closer we move to God the more His Light will shed perspective on our battle with ways to win the victory over evil. From trials to triumph, that is the way of the Lord!
What’s love got to do with it?
Here is an amazing thought…the closer we all move to God, the closer we are to each other! Want more love and affection? David cried out, “I’m starved for affection.” “If you love me, get me out of here.” God loved us before we thought about loving Him back. He made a way for us to love him back with all that is in us. God’s love never changes but we must go where God is, repent of following evil, accept His Son’s redemption of us and follow in His ways to experience His never ending love.
Psalm 6 prayerHEART CHECK…
With God, the battle is surely won. Without Him, we are left in the dark on our own. Where are you? In tears or in triumph…or somewhere in between? Remember if God is for us, who can be against us? No one. God sent His Son to battle for our souls…and won! That’s why the “battle belongs to the Lord”.
 
Do we trust Him? How and how much? What battle has God won in your life recently? Did you praise and thank Him? How? How much?
 
“My prayers are answered”, says David triumphantly. “Cowards, my enemies disappear” when we walk in the Light. “Disgraced, they turn tail and run.” Evil will flee when we fall on our knees and cry out to the King of kings and Lord of lords in Jesus Name.
 
Is this the time for you to cry out to the God of creation? Is it time for you to stand with God instead of running ahead of God? Isn’t it time HE fought the battle for you with HIS power and might?
 
Our lives on this earth will be a continuous, daily battle to make right choices.
Do I follow the world or do I stand firm in my faith and follow God?
 
Dear Lord,
In our “trials to triumph” lives, be our Shield, Protector, Provider, and Victor. You provided the Perfect Way back to You and Your love by the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Yes, You know suffering. So we cry out to You. We give in to You. Our desire is to live victorious! All my trust is in You.
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.
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OPEN ARMS FOR GOD-SEEKERS!

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Psalm 5 fakeWe get discouraged in this world as we work alongside others who seek self promotion and glory. We wonder why they get ahead even though they lie and cheat to get the coveted position. Their favorite phrase is “fake it ’til you make it”. Their actions behind the scenes are despicable and hurt people who get in their way.
 
Well, this was David’s world, too. Since the fall of Adam, mankind’s inborn nature is to satisfy self. But if we seek only self, then God will have no part of us. He can’t live where we live with evil. We can’t run to Him if we only seek self. We are not welcome if we seek only self gratification.
 
Psalm 5, The Message
A David Psalm
 
1-3 Listen, God! Please, pay attention!
Can you make sense of these ramblings,
my groans and cries?
King-God, I need your help.
Every morning
you’ll hear me at it again.
Every morning
I lay out the pieces of my life
on your altar
and watch for fire to descend.
 
4-6 You don’t socialize with Wicked,
or invite Evil over as your houseguest.
Hot-Air-Boaster collapses in front of you;
you shake your head over Mischief-Maker.
God destroys Lie-Speaker;
Blood-Thirsty and Truth-Bender disgust you.
 
7-8 And here I am, your invited guest—
it’s incredible!
I enter your house; here I am,
prostrate in your inner sanctum,
Waiting for directions
to get me safely through enemy lines.
 
9-10 Every word they speak is a land mine;
their lungs breathe out poison gas.
Their throats are gaping graves,
their tongues slick as mudslides.
Pile on the guilt, God!
Let their so-called wisdom wreck them.
Kick them out! They’ve had their chance.
 
11-12 But you’ll welcome us with open arms
when we run for cover to you.
Let the party last all night!
Stand guard over our celebration.
You are famous, God, for welcoming God-seekers,
for decking us out in delight.
 
Psalm 5 look upSOMETHING TO CHEW…
This self seeking behavior is not of God. BUT, if we seek God with His power and glory, His love for us, His longing for us to love Him back with all that is in us, laying down self, then…He “will welcome us with open arms”. We can run for cover from the enemy who works in the lives of others to daily harasses us. Remember the enemy’s only motive is to drive us farther away from God, destroying our relationship with God which eventually destroys us.
 
David knew and describes the behavior that is not God. We see it clearly and simply so we know how to behave. It is nothing like our enemy who works in through lives of many around us at church, sometimes in our home, at work, at play, when we are weak, when we are heart broken and when we are questioning our circumstances.
 
HEART CHECK…
Let’s pray what David honestly prayed before God,
“I lay out the pieces of my life on your altar…”
 
Am I laying it all down on the altar or keeping back some of my life for fear it is unacceptable?
 
Let’s remember that God does not “socialize with Wicked or invite Evil over as His houseguest.” “Yahweh destroys Lie-Speaker; Blood-Thirsty and Truth-Bender disgust you.”
But God-Seekers are welcome with open arms…
 
Am I a God-Seeker or one who wants to join in and get even with those who hurt me?
 
“I enter your house; here I am”…We lay down self as a sacrifice daily. (See also Romans 12;1-2)
Am I daily laying it all down as a whole and pleasing sacrifice to God?
 
“Waiting for directions to get me safely through enemy lines”…God will guide and provide as we walk through the journey here until we get to there with Him.
 
Do I trust Him to do just that? Am I waiting for directions or following my own gut instinct?
 
Not only will God see us through it all, He sees the enemy for who he is and will take care of him for good. God knows what you are going through and will help us. He also has the final answer and resolution for the enemy.(Revelation)
 
We must remind ourselves that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We also must remind ourselves that mankind needs a Savior and only Jesus can save us. Our war with others is not really against each other, it is against the enemy, Satan, who seeks to destroy every one seeking God.
 
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12, NIV
 
Psalm 5 open armsRest assured…
“You are famous, Yahweh, for welcoming God-seekers, for decking us out in delight.”
 
Run to open arms of our Heavenly Father and seek Him with all your heart, mind and soul. Lay down self at His altar and pick up all that God has for us…salvation and life abundant here and life forever there with Him.
 
PRAYER OF HONESTY…
Psalm 5 lead me
Dear Heavenly Father,
I run to You for Your cover. You welcome me with open arms. I will cling to You and feel the love pass from Your heart to mine. I lay down my life, all of it, even the parts that disgust me, worry me and cause me to doubt. Here I am, your invited guest. Here You are listening to the cry of my heart. Thank you. Now, I’m listening to you, waiting for directions for this day.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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MORE THAN ENOUGH

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Psalm 4 want moreDavid asks a great question of all of us on this earth today, “Why is everyone hungry for MORE?” “More, more,” they say. More in the bank account. More family. More houses. More vehicles. More things to enjoy. More time to enjoy it. We always want a little bit more.
 
Then David responds to his own question with testimony of God’s relationship with him. “I have God’s more-than-enough, more joy in one ordinary day than they get in all their shopping sprees.” Ouch. I do love to shop. My family knows that, but I love the game of shopping, conquering the best deal, more than the shopping itself. None the less, the greater question above all is what gives us more joy in a day?
 
Psalm 4, The Message
When I call, give me answers. God, take my side!
Once, in a tight place, you gave me room;
Now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me!
 
2 You rabble—how long do I put up with your scorn?
How long will you lust after lies?
How long will you live crazed by illusion?
 
3 Look at this: look
Who got picked by God!
He listens the split second I call to him.
 
4-5 Complain if you must, but don’t lash out.
Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking.
Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.
 
6-7 Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say.
“More, more.”
I have God’s more-than-enough,
More joy in one ordinary day
 
7-8 Than they get in all their shopping sprees.
At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep,
For you, God, have put my life back together.
 
Psalm 4 JesusSOMETHING TO CHEW…
 
We are approaching the time when people will post their “thankfulness” on social media. Let’s not miss the point of David’s Psalm-prayer to God. His joy is not linked to the things God has given to him or even how He provides for his needs and protects him. His joy is in God alone. God is his contentment. God means more to David than anyone or anything else. If David posted on social media today, what would be his comment on gratefulness? “For you, Yahweh, have put my life back together.” “I have God’s more-than-enough.” I have God and He has me.
 
HEART CHECK
 
Do we associate our gratitude and praise for what God gives or simply who God is?
Is God our more-than-enough?
Do we need more?
More of what?
At the end of the day, who puts life together for us?
 
Psalm 4 more
Dear Heavenly Father,
David’s conversational prayer with you is such a great example of an honest heart with a mind focused on You. You are our more-than-enough. You are God and we are not. You are all powerful, have all the glory, as evident in the works of Your creation, yet we are more valuable to You over all. You came down to save us. Yes, at the end of the day, you have put my life back together. YOU are my more-than-enough. Thank you.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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REAL HELP

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Psalm 3 sleepSometimes we run for our lives from dealing with perplexing problems in serious encounters of living this life. Sometimes we try everything to avoid it or deny it is even happening. When we finally face it and realize it’s too big for us to handle, we cry out. Humans typically cry out to family first because they are right there in your home. When that does not satisfy, we might cry out to our coworkers in frustration hoping they will console us, sympathize with us, “be our our side” and help us get through it. We see them every day, why not?
 
When our family and coworkers don’t help we turn to close friends we trust, friends at church, or friends of the family. If they go to church, they should be of help, right? When we finally come to the end of our rope of connections, we cry out to God…Who has been waiting for us, mercifully ready to listen. We tell our God who created the world and everything in it our problem. When we are really distraught we even tell Him how to fix it. (Just being honest.)
 
David is hemmed in from all sides from Absalom, his own son who wants to kill him. David prays a very passionate prayer for help…like we would if we were in his situation. Then he honestly tells God what he would like for Him to do to his enemy. Life is rough and David wants God to know that.
 
Psalm 3 from the mountainPsalm 3, The Message
A David Psalm, When He Escaped for His Life from Absalom, His Son
 
1-2 God! Look! Enemies past counting!
Enemies sprouting like mushrooms,
Mobs of them all around me, roaring their mockery:
“Hah! No help for him from God!”
 
3-4 But you, God, shield me on all sides;
You ground my feet, you lift my head high;
With all my might I shout up to God,
His answers thunder from the holy mountain.
 
5-6 I stretch myself out. I sleep.
Then I’m up again—rested, tall and steady,
Fearless before the enemy mobs
Coming at me from all sides.
 
7 Up, God! My God, help me!
Slap their faces,
First this cheek, then the other,
Your fist hard in their teeth!
 
8 Real help comes from God.
Your blessing clothes your people!
 
 
SOMETHING TO CHEW…
 
Talking out our problems with God, honestly, helps to to be at peace, grow in maturity, gain perspective, and see things more that way God sees life. God will help us work through it. God will work in us as we work through it. God will even provide the rest and peace we need for our health. He will also build our strength to fearlessly face whatever comes in this journey called life here.
Psalm 3 chambersHEART CHECK…
How honest is my heart when I talk with God about those around me who hurt me or battles with circumstances that I cannot handle? How honest am I when I tell him what went wrong as I describe the circumstances? Do I tell our God of the universe what to do?
 
God knows our situations. God knows the hearts of those who hurt us. God knows our hearts. God knows the outcomes. God knows. So, keep it honest, but then listen to God’s response and obey.
 
Cry out to God first, it saves a lot of precious time.
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
There are things that are disturbing here at times. But to know that You know already brings peace in the middle of it all. Please send real help that only You can provide. We trust in You for all that we need. We want what you want. Clothe us with your blessings so that we are blessings back to you.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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